Harvard political scientist Graham Allison does not believe that the Kremlin ruler Putin is acting irrationally, even though he made mistakes in assessing the situation. For the scientist it is clear: If in doubt, Putin would also use an atomic bomb – if he was afraid for his life.
How can the Ukraine war be ended? The US political scientist and Harvard professor Graham Allison believes that the West will not be able to avoid making the Kremlin ruler an offer. “Dealing with terrible leaders, even with mass murderers, is unfortunately part of the history of international relations,” the scientist told the “Spiegel”.
For Allison it is clear: “Putin has no scruples about killing people, even in very large numbers.” Nevertheless, it must be a question of dissuading him from ever more violence.
“The leaders of the Pentagon and the White House are pondering one question above all: can Putin lose this war, and if defeat is unequivocal, can he survive it? I don’t know what their answer is. Mine is: no. I think he’s right to believe that in the event of a clear defeat he will lose power and probably his life,” said the 82-year-old.
The Harvard political scientist analyses: “Putin would go down in Russian history as the man who lost Ukraine and possibly even revived the West. This is not a good perspective for him – and at the same time the analytical point of this question: if he is forced to choose between this defeat and an escalation of violence and destruction, then, in my estimation, as a rational actor he will choose the latter. In other words: an increase in violence.
“If we give him the clear alternative of losing everything or taking a risk, we have to expect the use of a tactical nuclear weapon,” Allison fears.
It must therefore be a question of offering something to Putin. For example, Ukraine won’t join NATO for 15 years. Or that Russia actually gets a land bridge to Crimea.
At the end of the war, however, it must become clear to Russia “that the costs of this invasion far exceed its benefits and that Putin is significantly weakened.”
At the same time, the US and NATO must find a way to deal with the Kremlin ruler. “We may still have to live with Putin and his people, just as we had to live with Stalin and Mao. But they will no longer shop in Paris, live in London or sail into Nice,” believes Allison.